Apology of an Economic Hit Man
This documentary is based on John Perkins' best-selling book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," and the subtle title change proves unfortunately apt. An overheated and less than convincing expose of corrupt American government and business practices overseas, "Apology of an Economic Hit Man" squanders the importance of its message with its hamfisted execution.
The apology of the title is quite literal, as the film is structured around a confessional lecture given by the author to an increasingly disgruntled Ecuadorian audience. In it, he details his decade-long service as an "economic hit man" in the employ of an American corporation that used methods ranging from bribery to threats of (and, it's implied, actual) violence.
Along the way, the film also details accusations about the mysterious deaths of two Latin American heads of state; the underlying commercial motivations for the Iraq War; and the exploitative practices of the World Bank.
While Perkins himself is a compelling figure, the film surrounding him is much less so. Filmmaker Stelio Koul relies far too much on awkwardly staged dramatizations that wouldn't cut muster on cheap reality television. And such footage as the scene in which a group of American soldiers are seen taunting Iraqi children is more sensationalistic than enlightening.